Wikipedia talk:Help desk

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Placement of Entries under "Recent Deaths" and "In The News"[edit]

A few weeks ago, I found it offensive and in extremely poor taste to list the name of a racehorse along with the names of the deceased human beings under the heading, "Recent Deaths."

Today, a famous tree, with the notation "Felled" next to its name, was similarly listed with the names of notable people who had recently died.

In the future, please consider placing the names of animals and plants under the heading, "In The News," rather than under "Recent Deaths."

I know that we are living in strange times where currently a great deal of thought is given as to the political correctness of addressing men and women according to the gender(s) that they perceive themselves to be, or how they feel on a given day, or which pronouns they want used in connection with themselves, such as: "he," "she," "they," or "it," etc. But even in 2023, while I'm sure there are a just a few folks who will disagree, I think only a very small percentage of your readers (none that fall in the "animal/vegetable" category) would equate the death of a person with that of a horse or a tree that needed to be cut down. The heading, "In The News," already exists in Wikipedia, and it is the correct heading for these events.

Trust me, going forward, if you make this change, the horses and trees won't be upset about it.

Thank you for giving this suggestion consideration. (talk) 01:44, 30 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

A small clarification, just for accuracy. The Sycamore Gap Tree did not 'need to be cut down' – this was an act of vandalism (some might call it aboricide) and two people so far (as far as I'm aware) have already been arrested for it.
Personally, I am entirely comfortable with listing the deaths of prominent but non-human living beings under 'Recent Deaths', but in the case of the tree this was not entirely accurate because, according to Brian Blessed, at any rate, the stump is not dead and will re-sprout, though in pollarded bushy form rather than the internationally famous single trunked specimen it previously was. The racehorse Point Given, however, remains dead. {The poster formerly known as} (talk) 23:56, 2 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Currently under debate at Wikipedia:In the news/Candidates#(Posted as RD): Sycamore Gap Tree (for the specific instance of this tree) and Wikipedia talk:In the news#Non-human RDs (for the general case). Your comments would be better placed, and welcome, in either or both of those places. —Cryptic 01:54, 30 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Where I must click when I want to publish my article[edit]

what must I do Mtati ovuyonke (talk) 18:32, 12 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

You have not written a text that qualifies as an article. If you write an article that summarizes what independent reliable sources say about a topic, you may use the article wizard to create and submit it. Be advised that writing a new article is extremely challenging. Please use the new user tutorial and read Your First Article. 331dot (talk) 18:38, 12 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
In case you are thinking of using Wikipedia to tell the world about yourself, see WP:NOTFB. Bazza (talk) 19:16, 12 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@Mtati ovuyonke: Also, the purpose of this page is to talk ABOUT the Help desk. To ask questions in the future, please post on Wikipedia:Help desk. Thanks! GoingBatty (talk) 19:21, 12 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Link to discussion about comments disappearing shortly after they are posted here[edit]

I wanted to respond to an editor's comment, but the whole discussion disappeared less than three hours after it was posted, when it was archived by scsbot. I started this discussion at the archive bot maintainer's talk page, in case you would like to lurk or to add your thoughts. Mathglot (talk) 04:20, 9 January 2024 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Proposal to change archiving at Help Desk to stale + <interval>[edit]

 Courtesy link: User talk:Σ/Archive/2024/February § Archiving in the context of a page that uses level-one headings as dividers

I propose that we change archiving at Help desk so that a discussion may only be archived after it has gone stale for whatever period is generally agreed upon. (Three days? to be discussed separately) The current behavior is that Scsbot archives discussion N days after the day they began, not N days (or hours/whatever) after the last comment in a discussion. The upshot of this is that lively discussions may be suddenly archived in the middle of ongoing discussion; this is disruptive. (Technical note: the current behavior may be related to use of level-one headings at Help desk. I will raise a separate discussion at Lowercase sigmabot III to see if it would work in this environment.) Thanks, Mathglot (talk) 18:21, 9 January 2024 (UTC)Reply[reply]

@Mathglot: Agreed. Could we just copy the archiving from the WP:Teahouse? GoingBatty (talk) 19:03, 9 January 2024 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@GoingBatty: I don't believe so, or at least, not yet, due to the level-one heading technical issue I raised above. But that is under discussion here, and I hope that will lead to a resolution of this issue. Mathglot (talk) 19:53, 9 January 2024 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@GoingBatty: Actually, now that I think about it, why not? The Level one calendar headings that are there now are only there for the convenience of scsbot processing, and other than that, we don't need them. Article talk pages don't have them, WP:Tea house doesn't have them, WP:ANI and other noticeboards don't have them, and if we switch to Lowercase sigmabot, we won't need them here, either. So now I'm thinking: yeah, we could just copy the archiving from the WP:Teahouse. And we should. Mathglot (talk) 08:59, 30 January 2024 (UTC)Reply[reply]
For the record, as scsbot's botherd, I would have no objection to a change to a different bot and strategy. Just let me know what you decide, and I'll turn scsbot off (or adjust its parameters) accordingly. —scs (talk) 05:02, 10 January 2024 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Thanks, scs. Don't turn it off (yet) but stay tuned. If you have ideas for the other discussion, by all means jump in! Thanks again. Mathglot (talk) 06:26, 10 January 2024 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I'm here from Help talk:Archiving a talk page. Note that Σ's last edit was in June 2022. Their bot is a clone of an older archiving bot so it's even less likely to get new features than usual. I'm not a help/reference desk regular but I'd just leave things as they are. Graham87 (talk) 13:26, 10 January 2024 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Hi, Graham87, sorry for not responding earlier. Although Σ's last edit was a while ago, there was something on their page about following email, so I emailed and got a response within hours. Although in my latest conception of how to do this (basically GoingBatty's idea of 19:03, 9 January above) we won't need any modifications; we can just do it exactly as they do it at the WP:Tea house. That means we won't have level-one calendar day headers on the page anymore, but we never really needed them in the first place; they are only there for the benefit of scsbot. Once we switch to Lowercase sigmabot, they won't be needed anymore, and the bot will just do its thing, just as it does at the Tea house, archiving discussions when they get stale. Mathglot (talk) 09:07, 30 January 2024 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@Mathglot: K, sounds fine to me. Graham87 (talk) 11:16, 30 January 2024 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@Mathglot: Slight correction: Those level-one date headers predate scsbot. Although it inserts (and sometimes deletes) them, it ignores them for the purposes of its archiving decisions. I assume they were originally intended for the benefit of humans. (Which is not to say we'd need to keep them.) —scs (talk) 13:12, 30 January 2024 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Oh, that's a surprise! Thanks for that correction. Mathglot (talk) 18:15, 30 January 2024 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Agreed. In fact, i think 3 days is not enough (at least 21 weeks required in my opinion). And, i even think it'll be better if the bot archives questions only if they are covered under some sort of "this discussion is closed" template. RuzDD (talk) 03:18, 30 January 2024 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@RuzDD: Who would decide when a discussion is closed? The original poster? How would we train them to do so, and what template would you suggest? GoingBatty (talk) 03:57, 30 January 2024 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Preferably the original poster, but i think everyone can decide it if that's obvious. For example; if the asked user says "okay, i did it and it worked, thanks", that discussion is closed if there's not another thing discussing. I suggest using

The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

The discussion above is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

({{Archive top}}{{Archive bottom}}) templates. RuzDD (talk) 04:07, 30 January 2024 (UTC)Reply[reply]

RuzDD, I don't think that works, here; it puts an extra burden on people to do that, and if they don't, over time, all the stale, unclosed discussions will occupy more and more of the page, with only a few active discussions at the bottom. Or worse, people responding to six-month old questions at the top. Much better just to have auto-archiving based on staleness; i.e., archive when the most recent message in the discussion is X days old. Then it happens automatically, with no human intervention. Mathglot (talk) 04:28, 30 January 2024 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Yes, okay. I think x=7 for most discussions, x=infinite for {{nobots}} topics, and x=1 for marked as solved discussions will be a good choice. RuzDD (talk) 05:08, 30 January 2024 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Maybe, but unless you're volunteering to write a new bot, we don't have one that does that. On the other hand, we do have a bot (more than one) that will archive discussions that are staler than X days, and if we switch to that bot, it will start happening automatically. Mathglot (talk) 05:37, 30 January 2024 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Oppose. Lively discussions often do not belong on the help desk in the first place. They generally belong either on the talk page of an article or on the talk page of a policy page. If we do occasionally need to keep a discussion, I would strongly prefer the default to be "archive". Preventing the archiving should be an active decision. -Arch dude (talk) 04:27, 30 January 2024 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I admit to not understanding this. It would be great to know at the time a user posts a question whether it will turn out to be a lively discussion or dead on arrival, but I don't know how you figure that out in advance. Not sure I understand the rest of it: are you offering an alternate proposal of "don't archive anything automatically, unless someone specifically tags it for archiving"? Mathglot (talk) 05:41, 30 January 2024 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Support the original proposal. Three days seems about right; two weeks seems much too long. I oppose "x=1 for marked as solved discussions"; if someone gives a wrong answer and someone marks it as closed, the thread should still stay around to give others a chance to look at it. I don't understand the "oppose" above - this is a discussion about archiving, not about regulating what questions and responses are acceptable. Maproom (talk) 08:29, 30 January 2024 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Actually yes, 2 weeks may be too long. But, if someone asks to help desk about not well known topic, ongoing issue may be last longer than 3 days not touched. I think a week or five days will be a compromise between archival of ongoing discussions and ultra long desks. RuzDD (talk) 20:54, 30 January 2024 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Your interest and enthusiasm are admirable, but there's a reason I keep saying "X days" above: namely, this proposal is about deciding on an archiving system, and *not* about how long an interval is appropriate, which is irrelevant here. The more you discuss something off-topic like how long it should be, the more the discussion becomes derailed or diluted and it becomes harder to pick out the comments about the actual proposal. When this one is done (pass or fail; doesn't matter), I encourage you to raise a discussion about how long it should be, if you wish to. But this proposal isn't about that. I apologize for even mentioning an interval in a parenthetical comment in my opening statement; that was kind of a throwaway, but I can see how that could have encouraged that kind of response. I've redacted it, to make it clearer. Mathglot (talk) 02:05, 31 January 2024 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I understood, thanks. RuzDD (talk) 02:35, 31 January 2024 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Archiving for the next few weeks[edit]

Unrelated to the thread just above, scsbot, the current Help Desk archiving bot, is going solo for the next two weeks while I'm traveling. If it should make a mistake, someone here will have to notice and fix it, as I won't be watching over its shoulder as I normally do. Further information over on the Ref Desk talk page. —scs (talk) 22:35, 13 February 2024 (UTC)Reply[reply]